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What can you tell me about Shoney's?

OK--I am a total Yankee/Northerner/New Yorker who has spent very little time below the Mason-Dixon line. But I am going to be in a small town in Virginia next week for a wedding, and I am told that the best game in town is Shoney's. So I check out the website, looks a lot like Denny's or Friendly's.

What can I expect? The person giving me this rec is not chow-ish at all, and if I ask her, she will call me a snobby NYer and give me the "when-in-Rome" speech.


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  1. skip the wedding if that is the best eats in town! Home Town Buffet meets Dennys.....there used to be some in this area (RI) but the all went out of business. Just because you are in Rome doesnt mean you need to be stabbed by a gladiator!

    1 Reply
    1. re: joe777cool

      HA! I love the gladiator line. But I am obligated to attend. Hopefully the CHers on the mid-Atlantic board can give me a few other recs.

    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Boy_...

      Shoney's is an offshoot of a very old American restaurant chain. Order a Big Boy or a Brawny Lad and try the garlic salad dressing, a shake and a slice of pie. Enjoy another part of America.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cathy

        Hi Cathy, thanks for the info. One of the reasons I'm going is to do just that--Enjoy parts of America that I'm not familiar with. Guess I was hoping for a 87 year old woman making pies out of a roadside shed, and a really good BBQ place. I'll be searching the appropriate boards here :)

        1. re: Cathy

          Indeed. And the some of the Big Boy salad bars are very good. And the vegetable soup is excellent.
          Keep it simple, and you'll be fine. But I hope there is better than Shoney's where you're going.

          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            I posted on the mid-Atlantic board for recs... I will be in the Draper/Dublin/Pulaski area

            1. re: iluvcookies

              Well first of all you're in hot dog country. So get thee a Virginia style dog. "The Works" is what you're looking for. A short drive will get you to either Wytheville and Skeeters or Roanoke and the Weiner Stand. Also, in Roanoke is the Texas Tavern. A great spot that's been around since the depression.

              Also, here's some links for ya. Scroll down to Virginia where needed.

              Anyway, have a good time. Hope you can get some of the good stuff.


              1. re: Davwud

                Davwud, thank you for the links.... this is just the type of thing I was looking for.
                Going to research and see if any place is enroute, maybe a detour through Roanoke is needed. Thankfully my driving companion (my dad) is game for a good hot dog and a little history.

                1. re: Davwud

                  That Hollyeats is a great site! Been check'in out for years.

            2. If you knew my FIL you understand when I say the answer to your question is "My FIL loves it."

              A few years ago he wanted to take Mrs. Sippi and I to breakfast. Shoney's. He always picks the worst places and we always rebuke his efforts. He gets upset and a fight ensues. So once in a while I'll cave and tell her we need to just suck it up. Well, the morning of breakfast she's suddenly not feeling well and begs off. THAT BIT.............
              Anyway, it was dreadful. No redeeming aspects to the meal other than I can say I've been and know of what I speak.

              Find something else on here and fill up before you go.


              3 Replies
              1. re: Davwud

                Ugh.. I don't mind going to Friendly's on occasion (mostly for their ice cream) or IHOP (my grandparents think these are nice places) so if the breakfast is like it is at either of those places I guess I can deal with a meal there.

                1. re: iluvcookies

                  My only experience with Shoney's was on my 8th grade DC class trip (16 yrs ago?) and it wasn't good. But I think that if you can handle Friendly's, IHOP, and Denny's then you can handle Shoney's. But hopefully those on the local boards can help you out.

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    Weekend breakfast buffet brings them in. We're not talking hotel-style made-in-front-of-you waffles or omlettes, either.

                2. It is unholy. That is all you need to know.

                  1. In a nutshell:
                    Potato soup, not too bad
                    Fried fish, greasy but edible
                    rice with shrimp, waaaay too salty
                    crabcake, meh
                    fried chicken, OK
                    banana pudding, pretty good

                    Overall, I survived. But the bride's grandma made amazing homemade pie for the reception, which put this place to shame.

                    Thanks everyone for the input!

                    1. Shoney's have survived in the same locations for more than forty years, so at least some of them are successful enough to keep their patrons happy and their owners well paid.

                      Let me tell you a story about why Shoney's has a different attitude. Remember Hurricane Katrina? Most of the area around Slidell Louisiana got a lot of water in a huge number of homes and the area was hurting. We had our sailboat on Lake Pontchartrain and the marina collapsed and our boat was in what can only be called chowder of boats. My husband went down to see what he needed to do to keep our boat afloat. He also got hungry and there were no grocery stores and very few restaurants were open.

                      The Shoney's in Slidell was open, run by three people (total for all shifts). A cook and two other people who acted as FOH, waitress, bus boy, restocker of food for the buffet. There was no menu, just a fixed price to come in and eat. It was a can-do attitude and was so very much appreciated by the people who had to be there and didn't have many options other than BurgerKing (for which there was a 45 minute wait after we placed our orders.)

                      I would just like to record that I'll always remember the people there who made a bad situation a little less bad.